In 2007, Alice Pulford went on a teaching placement for 5 months and fell in love with Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city. Captured by the desperate need for effective aid, she returned the same year with some funds the family had raised. This is when Alice was introduced to Mercy, Benson and Gift Mkandawire, by their nephew Spiwe Zulu.
Mercy had already registered Tilinanu as a community based organisation in 2002, with the Malawian Government Porridge Fund. This enabled her to start providing food for over 400 children, who used to gather daily on her land in Area 49.
Mercy’s vision was to build a safe place for the vulnerable girls to be loved and cared for – either orphans or children with parents unable to support them. Alice and Mercy began working together, with funds Alice had been left by her late grandfather and her inspiration Alan Pulford. Very quickly the Mkandawires and Pulfords were intertwined and driven towards the same goal to house these children. An abandoned church, with only 3 walls and no roof on the family land was to be be turned into the orphanage.
Over 8 weeks, Alice, her older sister Nina, their mother Yvonne, and some helping hands, set to work, and on Saturday 29th August 2009, Tilinanu Orphanage as a home was opened.
After Mercy and Benson passed away their son Gift Mkandawire took over the running of Tilinanu.
The video below was taken in 2009 just after Tilinanu opened. It shows just how far we have come with your support and speaks volumes about the love Tilinanu is built on.